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Kawasaki Z800 (2013-current)

£7,499

806cc, 111bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

We’re genuinely shocked how good the Z800 is, given how uninspiring the old Z750 was - it’s a fitting tribute to the Zed’s 40th birthday. The ride quality is sumptuous, the motor smooth and there’s power spilling out of it at every rpm. It’s a real joy to ride. All the hard work Kawasaki has put into improving the engine, ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Speedmaster (2011-current)

£7,199

865cc, 60bhp, 110mph, Insurance group 12

Considering the price you get a lot of bike for your money. This ‘junior cruiser’ doesn’t feel like a lesser bike; it’s not underpowered, doesn’t feel budget, is cool and still has big bike appeal. So good and such value for money I’d question why you’d want anything bigger unless you’re a dedicated big custom fan.

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Honda VFR800X Crossrunner (2011-current)

£9,499

782cc, 101bhp, 145mph, Insurance group 14

The Crossrunner has already proved controversial for being passed off as a new bike when, effectively, it’s little more than a re-worked, re-styled nine-year-old VFR800 with some ‘parts bin’ equipment. But there’s no denying that, as a concept, as a two-wheeled ‘cross-over’ machine, the Crossrunner simply works. It’s one of the best, friendliest and truly versatile bikes around – anywhere. ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Kawasaki W800 (2011-current)

£6,799

773cc, bhp, 110mph, Insurance group

Our first test of Kawasaki’s new W800 suggests that Britain’s own Triumph, after for five years having things all its own way in the ‘retro roadster’ class, has a new, real rival on its hands. Not only is the Kawasaki W800 cheaper and better specced than its closest Bonneville rival, the Kawasaki’s uprated engine means there’s now no discernible performance ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha Fazer8 (2010-current)

£7,999

779cc, 106bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Yamaha’s Fazer range of bikes used to be all about hard-working, do it all, value for money bikes. One look at the today’s price for the new Fazer8 says otherwise when comparing it to the competition – and the fact there is the slightly bigger capacity but vastly superior FZ1 in Yamaha’s line up. But what you have to remember ...

  • MCN rating rating is 3
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Tiger 800 XC (2010-current)

£8,699

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

The new 800 XC is very much the bigger, burlier brother of Triumph’s two new Tigers. From the moment you swing your leg on board it’s clearly a taller, seemingly more substantial machine. The combination of 21-inch wire front wheel (in place of the 800’s cast 19incher), longer travel (by 40mm) 45mm forks (the 800’s are 43mm) and slightly wider ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5
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Triumph Tiger 800 (2010-current)

£8,099

799cc, 94bhp, 130mph, Insurance group

Triumph’s new Tiger 800 is the slightly more basic, more road-orientated and novice-friendly (not to mention cheaper) version of its two, new, three cylinder dual-purpose machines. The other is the Tiger 800XC. It’s a great bike, too –  impressing immediately with excellent ergonomics, and a superbly linear and progressive power delivery.

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Yamaha FZ8 (2010-current)

£6,999

779cc, 106bhp, mph, Insurance group 16

Yamaha’s original FZS600 Fazer and later models always represented value for money workhorses – the sort of bike you could commute and have fun on anytime, anywhere. But now the XJ6 and Diversion fills the cheap and cheerful slot left by the death of the FZ6 S2 and FZ6 Fazer. The replacement machine is the new FZ8 (and half-faired FZ8 ...

  • MCN rating rating is 0
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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BMW F650GS (2008-current)

£6,650

798cc, 71bhp, 120mph, Insurance group 8

BMW’s successor to long-lived and popular entry-level F650 single is, confusingly, being based on the F800GS, neither a single (it’s a parallel twin) or a 650 (it’s 798cc) – so perhaps not surprisingly it’s miles better than the old one. Just as importantly, though, with a lowered seat, softened delivery and more, it’s every bit as novice or shortie-friendly and ...

  • MCN rating rating is 4
  • Owners' rating rating is 4
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Benelli Tre K 899 (2009-current)

£7,995

898cc, 105bhp, 140mph, Insurance group 17

This is the smaller engined version of Benelli’s brilliant, but unfortunately rare Tre K 1130  sports tourer. We rate it highly: it’s comfy, easy to ride, sounds great, handles well and has a wild side for when the mood takes you. It’s not the obvious choice, which will actually a plus-point for many, but some will be sceptical, worried about ...

  • MCN rating rating is 5
  • Owners' rating rating is 4.5

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